Tuesday, January 31, 2017


UPS vs e-commerce.  Who is the tiger?  And who is riding the tiger?

UPS Revenue Rises, but Earnings Forecast Underwhelms

Revenue boosted by holiday-season deliveries, but lower margins hurt results

After forecasting record holiday season deliveries, UPS delivered 1.4 billion packages during the quarter, up 7.1% from the prior year.
After forecasting record holiday season deliveries, UPS delivered 1.4 billion packages during the quarter, up 7.1% from the prior year. Photo: john sommers ii/Reuters
United Parcel Service Inc. said its fourth-quarter sales rose, driven by an uptick in e-commerce deliveries over the holiday season, but lower margins in that business also hurt its bottom line.
The Atlanta-based company also gave a downbeat outlook for fiscal 2017, forecasting earnings of $5.80 to $6.10 per share, below the $6.17 expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Shares fell 4% to $112.25 during premarket trading on Tuesday. The stock had risen 23% over the past three months through Monday’s close.
Chief Financial Officer Richard Peretz said a shift in product mix and weak industrial production have hurt the company’s profit.
After forecasting record holiday season deliveries, UPS delivered 1.4 billion packages during the quarter, up 7.1% from the prior year.
Sales for its domestic segment grew 6.3% to $10.91 billion, while sales in its much smaller international and supply chain segments each grew 5% and 2.6%.
In all for the quarter UPS reported a loss $239 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with a profit of $1.33 billion, or $1.48 a share, a year earlier.
Excluding items such as a mark-to-market pension charge, earnings rose to $1.63 a share from $1.57. The most-recent quarter included mark-to-market expenses of $1.67 billion, while the charges for the year-earlier quarter totaled $79 million.
Revenue grew 5.5% to $16.93 billion. On an adjusted basis, the company said revenue was $16.99 billion.
Analysts had forecast earnings of $1.69 on $17.01 billion in revenue.
Write to Imani Moise at imani.moise@wsj.com

Monday, January 30, 2017


How many manufacturers and retailers that blame Supply Chain Management do not transform and elevate their supply chains to mitigate the risk of supply chain problem occurrence?

Honeywell Posts Decline in Profit

Aerospace business continues to be a drag on conglomerate

Honeywell International Inc. posted lower organic revenue and profit for its latest quarter.
Honeywell International Inc. posted lower organic revenue and profit for its latest quarter. Photo: © eric miller / reuters/Reuters
Honeywell International Inc.‘s profit slipped in the fourth quarter as the conglomerate coped with declines in its aerospace division and supply-chain delays in its safety-systems businesses.
Overall, however, the quarter was a return to predictability for a company that had been a darling among industrials for its steady performance until some stumbles last fall, including a drop-off in sales related to servicing of its business-jet engines.
Business jets continued to be a drag on the Morris Plains, N.J., company; organic sales—which exclude currency effects and acquisitions—fell 5% for its aerospace business. But Honeywell is seeing a rebound in business linked to the oil-and-gas industry, as well as resilience in its distribution-systems business, which grew by double digits in China and India.
Chief Executive Dave Cote, in his final earnings presentation before his retirement at the end of March, predicted that “animal spirits”—signs of new enthusiasm among small and large business owners—in the U.S. economy would trigger greater growth.
“Hopefully if we can just get a few sparks here with some actual actions, there could be enough to really start to turn the herd,” Mr. Cote said. “We’re going to continue to plan for a slow-growth global economy, but it still feels more positive than it has in a while coming off of the worst recession since the Great Depression.”
Still, Honeywell executives expressed caution, especially on trade, which President Donald Trump has driven to the forefront in recent days. Honeywell, as much as any of its industrial competitors, is structured to benefit from globalization and free trade, with a major presence in China and manufacturing distributed around the globe.
“It’s kind of tough to be an economic island now, especially if you’re the No. 1 economy in the world, so it depends on how that gets handled and of course it’s a concern for us,” Mr. Cote said.
Chief Operating Officer Darius Adamczyk, who is to succeed Mr. Cote as CEO this spring, said the company is cautiously optimistic, saying talk of the Trump administration reshaping trade pacts and tariffs remains “pure speculation.”
For the just-completed quarter, Honeywell reported profit of $1.03 billion, or $1.34 a share, down from $1.19 billion, or $1.53 a share, a year earlier. Excluding restructuring and other costs, earnings per share were $1.74.
Revenue grew to $9.99 billion from $9.98 billion, though core organic sales fell 1%.
Shares of Honeywell were up 0.4% at $118.42 in 4 p.m. New York trading.
Mr. Cote signed off his final earnings call at the helm of the conglomerate in jocular fashion, with a winking endorsement of the New England Patriots and a series of reminders to analysts about which ones had been early to predict he could turn around the company he took over in 2002—and which hadn’t.
In 15 years as CEO, Mr. Cote was known for a carefully cultivated folksy image, a quick wit and a thick New Hampshire accent—in a note on Friday, Bernstein Research congratulated him on a solid fourth “quahtah.”
Corrections & Amplifications
Sales in Honeywell’s safety and productivity solutions unit rose 8.9%. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated sales in the unit fell 2.2%.
He is also credited for engineering a largely successful turnaround at Honeywell, which was laboring when he took over shortly after a possible sale to General Electric Co. was scuttled.


Asia-Europe container trade to see more capacity reductions in bid to prevent rates slump

The traditional seasonal slump in Asia-Europe container freight rates could be avoided this year, as carriers prepare to pull huge amounts of capacity from the trade via void sailings.
According to container freight pricing platform Xeneta, carriers will this week reduce capacity by 33% on the westbound Asia-Europe trade, with full capacity reduced next week by 43% capacity,. There will be a further 8% reduction the week after that.
“That’s some 200,000 taken out of service,” Xeneta chief executive Patrik Berglund told The Loadstar.
“This means container lines are taking stronger measures to try and keep rate levels up, which makes a distinct difference with this period normally. Rates traditionally slide in the aftermath of Chinese New Year.
“This year, however, there is a stronger chance rates will stay at the levels we have seen recently, and may even go up.”
The implication for long-term contracts on the trade is a big variation in rate levels, said Mr Berglund.
“Normally one would see contract rates across the trade cluster around a given level, but this year the spread is so wide that we have become very cautious about making any sport of predictions as to what would be an average Asia-Europe annual contract rate level,” he said.
Xeneta has also seen a change in the timing of long-term contract negotiations between carries and shippers on the route, with both reluctant to put pen to paper until the overall picture on where rates are heading becomes clearer.
“A lot of people have yet to sign contracts on the trade, and we think they will continue to resist until they see what the situation is after the next few weeks.
“The result is that for some companies the cycle of contracts appear to have permanently shifted from January to December, to March to February.
“We are seeing some companies signing annual contracts in February, March and April, while others are signing contracts at the same time, but which are only valid until the end of 2017.”
However, in the contracts that have been signed, Mr Berglund says he has seen a much greater emphasis on the seasonality of the trade, which has followed IT investment by carriers.
“If a shipper can provide stable volumes during the slacker periods of the year then they will get very good rates, but during the peak seasons when demand is higher and their own volumes increase they can expect to pay higher rates on the extra containers,” he added.
However, given that this is the container shipping industry, there is always a chance that rates could plummet, especially if carriers decide to bring more capacity back, or one or more breaks ranks on the current pricing discipline to go for market share.
According to today’s Container Insight Weekly, published by Drewry, one of the chief reasons why capacity was so dramatically cut in recent months was the bankruptcy of Hanjin.
“An immediate impact could be seen on the containership idle fleet, which surged after Hanjin’s demise when 98 ships, with an aggregate capacity of around 610,000 teu suddenly were left without employment. The idle fleet went from 904,000 teu in mid-August to 1.7m teu in mid-November,” it said.
However, some of that capacity has begun to seep back into services. Just four vessels amounting to 15,000 teu have been scrapped, while some 31 ships have re-entered service, Drewry noted.
“Only one of those ships that found new operators was previously owned by Hanjin, the 4,275 teu Hanjin Durban (now KMTC Chennai). Non-operating charterers such as Danaos, Kmarin, and Seaspan have managed to find replacement lessors for 30 ships so far, presumably at considerably lower daily charter rates than Hanjin was paying,” Drewry said.
The impact of these smaller vessels on the Asia-Europe deamand-supply situation is likely to be muted, given their smaller size.
More important have been the moves by Maersk Line, which has chartered 11 former Hanjin vessels amounting to 77,000 teu. Two of these are the 13,000 teu Hanjin Africa and Hanjin Harmony that were sold at auction by HSH Nordbank to unnamed buyers in December for $127.5m and $137m respectively, according to vesselsvalue.com data.
Drewry added that Maersk had deployed the vessels on the 2M Alliance Asia-Europe services and renamed them Maersk Emerald and Maersk Ensenada.
“There remain some 63 ex-Hanjin ships, with close to 460,000 teu worth of nominal capacity, that are parked up. These include Hanjin Europe, one of the three 13,092 teu units sold in December by Peter Döhle Schiffahrts-KG, which was originally listed as Hanjin-owned. Six sisterships with similarly opaque ownership will be auctioned next month,” Drewry said.


Old Supply Chain Management brings products to the process. New SCM brings process to products by extending upstream.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Container spot rates nothing to crow about as China enters year of the rooster

Container spot rates marginally declined this week ahead of Chinese New Year, with carriers announcing blank sailings as they look to stem the bleed from an expected decrease in demand following the lunar festivities, which begin tomorrow.
Asia-North Europe recorded a 1.05% decline in rates, to $1,041 per teu, according to today’s Shanghai Container Freight Index (SCFI), following a week-on-week decline of 3% last week.
Asia-Mediterranean route rates dropped 1.8%, to $986 per teu, after falling 2.3% last week.
But it was Asia-US west coast sailings that felt the biggest impact of declining demand, as rates dropped 2.3%, to £2,106 per teu after 2% decline last week.
Asia-US east coast rates recorded a 0.3% week-on-week decline, to £3,637 per teu.
This morning, Hong Kong carrier OOCL also announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 operational results, with a 5.9% increase in its operated capacity negating volume growth of 9.1%, as full-year revenues plummeted 9.9% to $4.7bn, from $5.2bn in 2015.
During 2016 it carried just over 6m teu, with the transpacific the star performer, growing by 182% to just over 1.5m teu. In the fourth quarter, its transpacific carryings grew 30.6% to 440,000 teu, presumably reflecting gains following the bankruptcy of Hanjin.
However, its largest trade for 2016 remained the intra-Asia & Australia corridor, where it carried just under 3.2m teu.
Fourth-quarter results showed a total volume growth of 20.2% matched by an upturn in revenues, which increased 10.3% year-on-year to $1.3bn, despite a 4.4% capacity increase.
And responding to an expected downturn in demand following Chinese New Year, OOCL has also joined other carriers in withdrawing services, with cancellations to its Asia-North America sailings.
Its North Pacific 2 westbound service, departing Hong Kong on 10 February has been withdrawn.
G6 Alliance partner Hapag-Lloyd said the westbound NP2 and SC1 services would be blanked on 23 February, and westbound SVS service on 14 March. It will also blank the eastbound service SC1 on 2 February, and CC4, SC2 and SVS on 10 February.
MSC, part of the 2M Alliance with Maersk, has withdrawn its eastbound Tiger (Maesrk AE15) service, departing the Turkish port of Yarimca on 4 March and 11 March, and its westbound Dragon (Maersk AE20) service departing Beirut on 6 March and 20 March.


Is there a Sarbanes Oxley issue with inventory and whose books? Does not address the underlying inventory velocity need?

‘Drop Shipping’ Looks Set to Go Mainstream as More Retailers Get on Board

Online orders ship directly from the supplier’s warehouse, reducing spending on inventory

Home Depot has been an early adopter of drop shipping.
Home Depot has been an early adopter of drop shipping. Photo: Bloomberg News
A growing number of retailers are relying on suppliers to ship online orders directly to customers, a strategy they hope will help them compete with e-commerce rivals without spending more on inventory.
The practice, known as drop shipping, lets retailers offer more products for sale on their websites—such as multiple colors of the same sweater—without having to keep those items in stock. Instead, merchandise ships directly from the supplier’s warehouse.
Some analysts predict drop shipping will hit the mainstream this year, as consumers spend more online and less in stores. Home goods seller Pier 1 Imports Inc. and footwear chain Shoe Carnival Inc. are among the retailers that in recent months said they would begin using drop shipping to expand their online offerings. In a retail industry survey by supply-chain software vendor SPS Commerce Inc., 40% of respondents said they expect more drop-ship vendors in 2017.
That could be a boon for logistics companies, which are often called on by small suppliers and manufacturers to take on inventory management, shipping and other tasks formerly handled by retailers.
“The [supplier] gets the audience, the retailer gets the sales,” said Josh Miller, vice president of business development at CTL Global Inc., a logistics company that handles fulfillment for manufacturers and retailers.
Drop shipping accounts for about 20% of CTL’s revenue, compared with 5% five years ago, Mr. Miller said.
In the SPS survey, half of the logistics firms polled predicted that drop shipping would account for more than a quarter of their sales within the next three years, up from 30% today.
Early drop shipping adopters include Macy’s Inc. and Home Depot Inc., which have used the practice to broaden their online assortments and sell bulky items, such as appliances that take up large amounts of space in stores and warehouses.
The downside: Retailers must hand control over key parts of their supply chains to third parties, including inventory management and shipping. But they are usually still on the hook with customers when an order goes wrong because emails that track an online order’s shipping progress and packing slips typically appear to come from the retailer.
“It’s a big trust issue,” said Nikki Baird, managing partner at research firm Retail Systems Research LLC, which conducted the survey for SPS. “Heavy, bulky things are better to ship from the supplier. But the problem is that the retailer then doesn’t have control or visibility as to how that process is going.”
Many traditional retailers are willing to take those risks as more people shop online. Spending at e-commerce retailers rose 11% in 2016 compared with 2015 but fell nearly 6% at department stores, according to advance estimates of U.S. retail sales from the Commerce Department.
Heavy, bulky things are better to ship from the supplier. But the problem is that the retailer then doesn’t have control or visibility as to how that process is going.
—Nikki Baird, managing partner at Retail Systems Research LLC
Retailers “are looking at Amazon and saying I may miss an opportunity,” said Irv Grossman, executive vice president at consulting firm Chainalytics. “They’re concerned about market share.”
Managing capacity as drop-ship orders ebb and flow could pose a challenge for logistics companies. For example, shipping companies might have to lease trucks to maintain capacity, said Cathy Morrow Roberson, head analyst at market research firm Logistics Trends & Insights LLC.
Returns may complicate matters, if unwanted items shipped from vendors end up stranded at stores or retailer-run warehouses.
Retailers also run the risk of turning suppliers into rivals by sharing customer data. More manufacturers are ramping up their own e-commerce operations, bypassing the middleman to sell directly to consumers.
The practice also costs more than buying items wholesale, because logistics and delivery get baked into the price. For instance, one retail client negotiated a deal to sell a product via drop ship for $59, a price that included the cost of logistics, said Frank Layo, a retail strategist at the consulting firm Kurt Salmon.
The retailer’s promotions team wasn’t aware of that, and “put it on sale for $49 on the front of the webpage, on Black Friday,” Mr. Layo said. “So it cost them $10 each sale.”
Write to Jennifer Smith at jennifer.smith@wsj.com

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Supply Chain Management is a process that operates around logistics functions. Does that approach help or hurt performance?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


And the underlying failure of supply chain and finance to work together.

Could Anti-Globalization Threaten Interest In Blockchain?


Geopolitical forces are pounding down on supply chains as businesses large and small boost their trading presences across new borders. Supply chain managers are watching those forces particularly close this year, analysts say. Research announced last week from Marsh & McLennan Companies found that 52 percent of treasury management and finance professionals are watching geopolitical events and how they impact corporate growth.
Effects on business operations, such as supply chain disruptions, researchers for the 2017 Association for Financial Professionals Risk Survey found, are among the largest factors of earnings uncertainty.
“Given the rise in geopolitical instability and other global risks, forward-thinking financial leaders and treasurers must focus on helping their organizations understand the potential impact of uncertain events on business strategies, operations and supply chains,” said Alex Wittenberg, executive director of Marsh & McLennan Companies’ Global Risk Center, in a statement.
It’s given rise to a recent trend among international traders: the anti-globalization movement.
A report by supply chain and business intelligence firm eft released this month looked more closely at this phenomenon for its latest Supply Chain Hot Trends report. Analysts found that 51 percent of supply chain professionals do agree that there is an anti-globalization movement brewing in their industry that leads to a slowing down of international trade. Most attribute that deceleration to global economic instability, though more than a fifth said increased protectionist attitudes have contributed to the trend.
“The anti-globalization movement is a movement against global free trade in favor of protectionism for domestic production,” explained Haley Garner, eft research director, in a recent interview with PYMNTS. “It likely exists because of the shifts in manufacturing jobs away from traditional manufacturing hubs, a backlash against what is perceived as unfair trade practices, increased discrepancy in wealth distribution and the polarization of the issue.”
From trade agreements, to discrepancies in trade regulation across barriers, to political attitudes towards international trade, the anti-globalization movement certainly has geopolitical roots. And whether these professionals believe in the anti-globalization movement or not, eft concluded that, “either way, trade looks like it will become less free and open.”
That even split between those supply chain professionals that see an anti-globalization movement brewing and those that simply see a decline in global trade was one of the findings of eft’s report that surprised Garner most, he said.
Impact On FinTech Investment
The deceleration of global trade could offer insight as to why most (52.3 percent) of supply chain professionals told eft they aren’t looking into the application of blockchain for their companies.
Distributed ledgers have dozens of potential use cases, but among the most commonly cited is the possibility for the tool to disrupt the cross-border trade, payments and trade finance space. A shrinking of the cross-border trade space may mean supply chain professionals see no need to innovate in technologies that would apply specifically to global trade.
But Garner said another issue can be at work here: Eft found that 24 percent of those surveyed are not familiar with blockchain at all.
“One of the biggest drivers of the education gap is that blockchain comes from outside of supply chain,” Garner explained. “In addition, it’s a new technology regardless of industry, with a number of unanswered questions pertaining to it.”
But, he continued, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a role blockchain may play in disrupting the supply chain management industry.
“This education shortfall is going to be shortlived as investment and time is spent in the space by supply chain experts,” Garner noted.
Indeed, for the nearly half of supply chain professionals interested in integrating blockchain solutions, the most common application they’re looking at is the transfer of data between supply chain partners (24 percent). Payments, especially for SMEs, is also of high interest.
Garner noted that eft hasn’t yet focused too much on cross-border payments innovation in its research and analysis. But, with so many professionals looking at blockchain for payments-related use cases, it’s an area supply chain industry stakeholders will have to watch.
“The order-to-cash process is also transforming quickly as consumers and customers are much more involved in the process, given the tools at their disposal,” the research director said. “Blockchain, though, could have a totally transformative effect on how payments are processed in supply chain.”
Still, with early talk of an anti-globalization movement, it is unclear just how much blockchain could disrupt supply chain payments, with many analysts and investors eying the technology to disrupt cross-border payments and data transfer in particular. Garner added that the anti-globalization movement isn’t yet an immediate threat on cross-border trade – or innovation.
“I do’t see the anti-globalization movement being that sudden, abrupt or all-encompassing,” the executive said. “Unless consumer habits drastically change, there will still be significant demand for goods from other countries. Anti-globalization won’t champion blockchain, but I don’t think it will stop it dead in its tracks.” 

Monday, January 23, 2017


Walmart cutting supply chain jobs.  Refocusing based on lost store sales?  What about adding jobs supply chain for e-commerce? Smart move?

Wal-Mart cuts 1,000 HQ jobs, supply chain in crosshairs

Dive Brief:

  • Wal-Mart Stores began a round of some 1,000 layoffs at its corporate headquarters, with most cuts targeting the retailer's supply chain operations, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The cuts come amid other belt-tightening and executive shuffling initiatives in the service of bringing together Wal-Mart's stores and online leadership roles as well as expanding its e-commerce operations in the wake of its $3.3 billion acquisition of e-retail startup of Jet.
  • Last week Wal-Mart touted the addition of some 10,000 retail jobs created through the opening of 59 new, expanded and relocated Wal-mart and Sam’s Club facilities as well as expanded e-commerce services. The company estimates 24,000 construction jobs will be supported through the opening of those facilities.

Dive Insight:

The shakeups, which have been expected, suggest that Wal-Mart is willing to undo much of the work in its existing e-commerce operations in favor of Jet’s signature pricing and fulfillment algorithms, which reward shoppers in real time with savings on items purchased and shipped together, in turn reducing supply chain and logistics costs — tech singled out by Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon as a decisive factor in the decision to acquire the startup.
But the dent in its supply chain ranks could undermine one of Wal-Mart’s core strengths: Its highly efficient brick-and-mortar-based distribution system. And it signals that Wal-Mart sees little growth for its brick-and-mortar operations, Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International, told Retail Dive.

"Wal-Mart clearly has decided at the board level that their growth prospects as a brick-and-mortar retailer are over — and when you decide that, you move to cut costs," Egelanian said. "They’re a very low-cost operator to start with. There's probably some excess, but this informs me that they don’t think they’re going to grow, because their core strength is their supply chain. They can put product on the shelves for costs that are 2% to 5% less than anybody else in retail — that’s how they beat Kmart. This is history repeating itself, and this is what happens when retailers are done with growth schemes. It's a bad strategy followed by bad tactics."
And while Wal-Mart sorts out which jobs to cut and which to create, archrival Amazon has announced it will add some 100,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs in Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey and other states over the next 18 months. KeyBanc analyst Ed Yruma said last week that a "significant and unexplained gap” in Amazon's hiring numbers indicates that its need for more workers may mean it plans to further expand its physical stores, suggesting Amazon's competitive pressure on Wal-Mart to boost e-commerce may soon extend to brick and mortar as well.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Malta logistics hub bid fails.  They also must understand that there is more than if you build it, cargo will come. That condition is called asset rich and cargo poor.

Friday, January 20, 2017, 07:51 by

Logistics hub bid flops, new request for proposals to be issued

There were no bidders for the international call

The proposed logistics hub would cover an area of over 45,000 square metres, partly over the current groupage complex at Ħal Far.
The proposed logistics hub would cover an area of over 45,000 square metres, partly over the current groupage complex at Ħal Far.
The government will be issuing a new request for proposals from bidders for a logistics hub in Ħal Far – with the Ministry for the Economy refusing to give any official reason as to why the original one issued in October had flopped.
Sources, however, said that there were no bidders for the international call, describing it as “a huge embarrassment” for the government, which would now have to rethink the terms of the concession it was offering.
Sources told the Times of Malta that the terms of the long-awaited concession were not enticing to bidders, with one asking why the site was going to be given to one operator, rather than allowing units to be offered ad hoc through Malta Industrial Parks.
“With something like this, you always worry that the government may already have someone in mind and you simply do not bother to waste time and money,” one frustrated source said.
With something like this, you always worry that the government may already have someone in mind
Another source said that it was clear from the outset that the concession would only be feasible if bidders were able to bring in a specialist partner who had the network to generate demand.
The RFP issued last October through the Privatisation Unit said the eventual operator would be given a non-renewable 65-year lease of the 45,000 square metre site. The successful bidder would need to make an upfront payment as pay an annual concession fee of €11.65 per square metre – working out to over €500,000. Applicants were given until January 13, 2017 to submit their proposals.
Interested parties would have needed to undertake the construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the hub, presently being used as a customs groupage complex.
There are currently 34 operators working from the Ħal Far groupage complex who were assured at the time by Economy Minister Chris Cardona that their operations would remain unaltered.
Last December, CEO of Express Trailers Franco Azzopardi had said that inventories in warehouses needed to be ‘turned around’ between five and eight times, meaning the 400,000 cubic metres of warehousing space being offered at Ħal Far would probably translate to 1.6 million cubic metres carried to and from the Freeport annually – working out to a further 400 trailers to be exported weekly.


Lack of statesmanship by container lines and ports is big problem. Each goes off lamenting their woes. Need a serious summit.